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Why Applications Don’t Always Succeed

Why Applications Don’t Always Succeed

GIF receives a large volume of applications which fail to give a good account of how they meet our funding criteria. The most common reason we reject applications are:

1. The approach proposed is not novel or is already widely practiced.

For example, we receive a large volume of applications for funding of agriculture businesses or vocational training models. Commercial agriculture and vocational training are already commonplace, so for us to consider applications in these spaces it is imperative there is a clear explanation of how your approach differs from existing practices and why you believe it can improve upon what is already widespread. If your approach is already widely practiced in developing countries, it will not meet GIFs criteria on innovation.

2. There is insufficient consideration of scale.

Many applications we receive are seeking funding for work focussed on benefits which will be localised to one community or region without consideration as to whether the approach can be taken to scale. Scholarships for individuals, community centres or training programmes or agricultural projects aimed only at a specific locality, for example, would not meet our criteria on scale. Furthermore, with a public sector pathway to scale it is not enough to assume a government will take up your innovation, we need to believe there could be some interest, capacity, and resources on the part of the government to ensure this pathway is credible. The million lives club showcases some of the innovations supported by GIF and others which are either reaching millions of clients or on their way to doing so.

3. The innovation is not focussed on GIF’s target market of those living on $5PPP a day.

GIF is an international development fund and we will assess your application on its potential to bring meaningful benefits for those living on less than $5PPP a day in developing countries. If your work is focussed on a developed country or is not reaching those living on less than $5PPP a day, it will not meet our funding criteria. (PPP stands for purchasing power parity, so $5 PPP is the equivalent to what could be purchased in the US with $5 in 2011. The World Bank provides data on the proportion of the population which lives below this line here.)

4. The innovation is not ready to be tested in a real-world setting.

Many of the applications we receive contain innovations with fantastic potential but are not yet ready to be tested in a real-world setting. We are open to early-stage ideas, but only if you can apply and test them with GIF investment. If your innovation needs significantly more development before it can benefit people living in poverty, then it is recommended that you apply for funding at a later stage. For risk capital investments, we look for strong markers of consumer demand or willingness to pay before investing.

5. For-profit companies seeking grant funding for business growth.

We are prohibited from providing grant funding when the primary purpose is growing a commercial for-profit business. We believe that debt and equity are more appropriate forms of finance for this work and therefore encourage for-profit business to carefully review the guidance on Type of Funding before applying.